Senegal’s naturally occurring pink waters at Lake Retba


We would generally expect a lake to be green, perhaps blue, but hardly anyone imagines a lake to look pink. Reality is stranger than fiction, and Senegal’s Lake Retba goes a step ahead to mess with your mind with its pink waters. Also known as Lac Rose, the lake is quite famous for showing off hues of red, mostly pink.

The lake has an area of a mere three square kilometers, or 1.1 square miles, which we would say is enough to show off its brilliant pink character. Lac Rose is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by only a narrow strip of land, and lies pretty close to Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. Yet, there are no marked human settlements close to the lake, a factor which probably has served well for the existence of the lake.

Retba is not completely free from human intervention. Locals mine the lake for its salt content, which is mostly sourced from the bottom of the lake. Lake Retba has a high salt content that matches that of the Dead Sea in several areas, and even exceeds it during the region’s dry spells, going as high as 40% in some areas.

Not many creatures can survive in the lake, and yet life has found a way. The lake is rich in the Dunaliella salina micro algae. The micro algae is generally found in sea salt fields, and thrives in Lake Retba, giving it the distinctive pink color that has made the lake a natural wonder. While the pink waters due to the algae aren’t exactly uncommon, they are rarely seen as a natural phenomenon. Australia’s Lake Hillier seems to be the only natural sibling of note to the pink waters of Lake Retba.

Sources: Lake Retba, Wikipedia on Lake Retba